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Extra FreeStock / Techs Edition

July 2010

Hot off the July Freegled Press... From the independent FreeSpOut team

Special Freestock and

Tech Edition

with news from the world of Freegle for Group Owners, moderators and friends of Freegle

CONTENTS: Pages 2-3 Freestock 2010 Page 4 Letters to FreeSpOut etc Pages 4-5 Tech Stuff Page 6 Freestock 2010 -2011

Who was here, what were they up to? See our exclusive expose, pages 2-3

Who is this man and what is he doing? Grand Prize Draw Competition! See page 4

Are you a nerd? A geek? A dork? If so, you will have no problem in analysing this fabulous Freegle-Tech screenshot, showing June’s traffic (as described in July’s FreeSpout) If not, find out what the terms mean - page 5 (Please zoom in to read the screenshot properly.)

Tech News from Paul Thompson to Central: I was just looking at Google Analytics just now to make sure that I hadn't broken click reporting for the shortlinks with my changes recently. Google Analytics, for those not geeky, is a service we use to see how much traffic our website is getting* Well, the 2nd of July was huge... We were listed in an article here: http:/ (sorry, it’s a broken link! - editor) Since that was posted it has brought in 22,932 visits to our website. Holy freaking moly! Our website usually gets an average of about 1500 visits a day. That article on the second of July spiked us to 19,710 visits. Anyhow, I just thought you all might find this interesting.

Freeglers! Who are your Tech Team? What (if anything) do they do in their spare time? Find out within these pages… … perhaps. © FreeSpOut July 2010

Extra FreeStock / Techs Edition

July 2010

Freestock 2010 “I’ll be the one with the notebook and camera,” I told Seb. Not true! The one-hour journey from Stafford (well, Newcastle under Lyme in this case) took us well over two hours. It didn’t help that we’d downloaded Seb’s instructions but not the map, but mainly it was due to the good old congested M6. Those travelling from the South also had a problem; David had sent a message warning of an accident on the Northbound route. Eventually we reached the wonderfully named “Gospel End Road” and made our way up the narrow track, following the expertly-placed signs for “Freestock 2010.” I’d told Seb that I would recognise him, and sure enough I did - he was the man dashing around organising things. We were all really impressed with this, We quickly parked the van and went off to say hello to people. paid for by Sheffield Some usefully had signs to let us know where they were from. City Council and Nick tried to tell me that he and Agnes were “Mr and Mrs Sponsors. It is really Swindon” but I’m not that easily fooled. Incidentally, it was sturdy and packs good to see people from other recycling groups. The down into the stand at afternoon and evening seemed to merge into one after the base. Adam and Tracey had organised a trip to the chip shop. We all commented on the interestingly orange chips. A group of us gathered around Wendy and David’s tent and the rest of the evening soon disappeared altogether. John, my “lesser half” (he’s not reading this, LOL) was fascinated by David’s conversation about energy saving - which will have to be continued next year as we all sloped off around 1.00 a.m.

(We’re talking here about the banner, not Adam!)

Next morning John and I decided to wander off in search of a newspaper, offering to get various things for others, and Chris set off with us. It turned into a much longer wander than we expected, but locals pointed us in the right direction, even asking us if we’d got what we needed on the way back. We hadn’t (point to note: no shop in convenient walking distance other than very limited General Store and Butcher) but I did make an impulse buy; some cream in a can in case my crumble was a bit dry. I should have bought six! Meanwhile Seb had draped groundsheets down the conveniently placed bank and the kids were having a whale of a time sliding down them with the aid of judicious quantities of water. Soon after it began we heard chants of “Ed-ward, Ed-ward but I don’t think our intrepid walker was persuaded to travel on anything other than his feet. Sadly the sun and watching all this expended energy went to my head so I fell asleep, missing Sue’s visit and most of the adult water-sliders. Wendy on the way down!

However, I didn’t miss the arrival of a little white Smart car - Sian had driven all the way from Woking in it, taking advantage of the fact that it had air conditioning. She made a stately progress around the field, saying hello to those she knew and introducing herself to those she didn’t. I doubt if it will surprise anyone who knows her to hear that I immediately felt as if I’d known her for ages!

A tremendous array of food appeared - everything from deliciously “heavy” bread, chilli, rice, potatoes, all manner of salads and “nibbly bits”, fruit salad, crumble (without squirty cream, as that was all used by the “young set” before we got round to it!) cakes and biscuits. I’d had a panic about the baked potatoes as our oven had stopped working, but Tina came to the rescue with her brand new one. After eating we joined in a game which Ed had obviously prepared beforehand, indeed he even owned up to having written a Wikipedia entry before coming LOL! Basically the idea was to go round the circle in an orderly fashion, naming a band or group beginning with the appropriate letter, until nobody could think of any more. Sadly some people (usually me) were so desperate to answer that they couldn’t await their turn, and we did allow Barbara to begin one round as she was so delighted to have a contribution to make. © FreeSpOut July 2010

Extra FreeStock / Techs Edition

July 2010

Actually she probably surprised herself with the number she did manage. Some of the bands were extremely obscure, but if said with enough authority were not challenged. Extra approval was heaped on anyone who managed to come up with a “double” like “Scissor Sisters.” It was followed by a private game (because they were the only ones who understood it I suspect — although Chris was there too) between Ed and Paul which involved linux commands, but before the rest of us lost the will to live we started an “author” round. Dewey Decimal purists would not approve as either name was allowed, so some authors appeared twice. More Freeglers had joined us by then, and Kath’s daughter Rhiannon was desperate to contribute. Much to the kid’s delight, the bonfire - a special privilege for us was lit. They had asked Seb if we were having one, and he told them no - that is, not unless they found the wood. Before long it looked as if Burnham woods were coming to Dunsinane as little figures appeared on the brow of the hill, bent under the weight of half a (presumably broken?) tree branch. It was obviously worth all the effort as they were delighted by the fire. I don’t know whether the threatened “Ging Gang Gooly” was sung though. As you can see, following last year’s event when he attempted to set fire to himself, Adam came prepared this year (complete with flashing light and sounds ) but his help wasn’t needed. As it got darker some of the kids joined us with lanterns but they were told them to turn them off as they were too bright. We are all obviously far more comfortable in communicating with one another without seeing faces! Next morning we returned the food to the table, having stored it in our fridge, and the vultures did not need much encouragement. Marmite crisps caused much comment; I don’t know who brought them, but can certainly recommend them as an ice breaker for difficult Committee Meetings or those emergency dinner parties that Nigella apparently hosts. I’d just gone to see Tina and Jess for a quiet chat when I realised that I’d arrived just as a waterfight erupted. Originally a private vendetta between Tina’s daughter Charlotte and Paul, it turned into full scale war as all the kids joined in and I had to persuade some of the little lads that they would not be popular if they opened some cans of beer and threw the contents of them. We ended our afternoon with a walk. The people who live near Baggeridge Country Park have a real gem on their doorstep! We went into a wooded glade down lots of steps, by a lake and over a footbridge, mainly hunting for dock leaves because the girls were fascinated about their being an antidote to nettle stings. Paul volunteered to test the theory, but as the nettles were in flower, I don’t think he managed to get stung. Eyebrows seemed to feature strongly all weekend. Edward was asked if his were real and he somehow convinced Rhiannon that everyone loses theirs at about aged twelve, although they do usually grow back. We found some “pink eyebrows” on our walk, but someone identified them as bits of feather boa lost by the Breast Cancer Awareness runners. On our way out of the park, we noticed a Miniature Railway with a little train overflowing with passengers. I’m not sure if we would have wanted it, but it could have been useful if we could have rerouted it for a quick trip to the loos and shower. Driving back through Gospel End we started to talk about next year... * perhaps then we’ll see Seb actually tossing the caber, as the photo on page 1 obviously shows? Thanks Seb, and everyone else who helped to make it such a good weekend. © FreeSpOut July 2010 Liz Mills (Stafford and FreeSpOut) - with thanks to other Freestockers for their photographs.

Extra FreeStock / Techs Edition

Letters to FreeSpOut

July 2010

Be a Buddy? I wonder whether we could put the following in this special edition of Freespout. It is not directly linked but Freestock is all about building our community and I think this does the same. Apologies to anyone in GMS who I have not run this past - was in the process of doing so but this opportunity seemed too good to miss. Tricia Chiltern and GreenModSchool Calling all mods and owners: could you fill this vital role? Ed’s favourite Freestock moment: I'll just say that I very much enjoyed the sight of David trying to jumpstart Nick's bike using a solar panel. David in Reading wrote: I did enjoy the latest Freespout especially the range of topics covered. Thanks for the mention of my “silver surfer” question although I am afraid you were wrong in assuming I have no ulterior motive* No big deal but may I suggest you contact people who are mentioned as I could have mentioned what is my ulterior motive i.e. running an anonymous demographic survey of members: ages, employment status, and say health challenges etc (see my recent post on central on Silver surfer thread) And also to say Freespout seems to be getting better with each issue so keep up the good work. Sorry Liz didn’t contact you - blame her, she likes it! - but all readers: please note David’s survey and get in touch.

We recently started a Freegle buddy group to help new groups, mods and owners in those first few precarious weeks and months. At the moment the demand probably outstrips the supply of buddies especially as some of the buddies have other commitments in Freegle and we also deal with some groups who find themselves in a crisis. We'd like to recruit some mods and owners who are comfortable with providing support for at least one owner or mod. We hope that some of you who haven't the time to become involved more closely with Freegle central groups would be happy to do this. We have created a Yahoo group with resources to help new mods and owners called GreenModSchool and if you are interested either in using the resources within your group or volunteering visit the group GreenModSchool or email the owner address

Home pages and Web site

Thanks, Tech Team!

Everyone loves a badge don't they? The Techs have virtual badges to put on your group home pages to show many awards we've won (does 2 count as many?). Ollie has produced lots of Freegle badges to go on other web sites, ie when people link to us.

The FreeSpOut team would like to thank the Techs for all they do for Freegle in general, and for their generous contributions to this special edition in particular.

There's a plan afoot to jazz up the web site home page with a slide show of stuff that's been Freegled, along with Freeglers Freegling using Freegle. Email any photos you have to Jean on photos@... - she'll need the get the right permissions from you. Competition from page 1 It was Seb! Whatever he was doing, he was the lucky organiser of Freestock 2009 and 2010. Your prize? Help to organise Freestock 2011!

There are 63 members of the Tech Working Party, but some of those are (like me) not likely to contribute to the problem solving which the team love to be challenged with. (Well, they give that impression anyway.) They Know Who They Are, so don’t need naming. These people are behind lots of our quirky gadgets; badges, maps, stats, plug-ins, the wiki,* help for frustrated mods who have accidentally turned off their wi-fi* Spare time? I very much doubt if they know what that is! © FreeSpOut July 2010 *See

Extra FreeStock / Techs Edition

July 2010 Round Britain with Freegle Thankfully Ed survived his long distance walk and Freegle kept going technically in his absence, not least due to the energy and enthusiasm of young Mr Paul Awesome. (AKA Thompson, from Ascot, for the uninitiated.) There's a good team of helpers for the moderator and member plugins with Nigel tending the engines while "Kirk" was boldly going to the ends of the Freegle universe. No, this isn’t a map showing Edward’s latest travels, but it’s taken from the latest Freegle Map, and shows all 252 groups! You can plonk the interactive map on your group home page or other web site if you wish. ( You read it here first:

Volunteering Techs There's been a recent rush of volunteers to take on some of the Tech Responsibilities. Alison's about to start looking doing some work on stats. Hopefully techy people will be on hand to help group home pages look beautiful. Have a look at what we do and what we want to do:

You never know, you may even get a Tech Working Group report one of these days. Chris Cant, July 2010 Could you Qualify to be a Nerd - er- Tech? New members at Freegle-Tech very welcome. Even non-nerds are invited to join, we hear, so go to yahoo groups if you are interested in seeing what else they are up to. Hey, I managed to avoid the g-word - until now. Some of the regular suspects are available on geeks@... if you suspect something has gone belly up. Chris well as doing this we could do a second section talking about exciting Tech works in progress. (well, at least exciting to us!) ...

Paul Thompson

July 2010

Paul has been ministering the wiki, smooth-talking Yahoo's systems into accepting lots of emails to group owners, and resourcefully obliging the requests of right-on Returning Officer Ray Owen for survey software on the Freegle servers. Speaking of which, the Freegle web site primarily uses the Perch content management system donated by Rachel. This makes it easy to add new groups and testimonials, and change what the web pages say.

(Venn Diagram from Laughing Squid)

Chris has stepped up to the plate and probably bitten off more than he can chew: rustling up a new Message Maker and making an interactive map for the site Find a Group pages. You can plonk the map on your group home page or other web site if you wish. And the Message Maker can be put there too, if you're Official (email Ed to get this coveted Yahoo status). There's an "easy sign in thing" too, as Jon so eloquently put it: a box to go on your group home page to make it easier for people to join your group. Again, only if you are official - Ed has the incantations required to make this happen. © FreeSpOut July 2010

Extra FreeStock / Techs Edition

Looking Forward to next year

David from Reading has compiled a survey, to help us to assess both the responses of those who did attend Freestock this year, and to see if we can find out why some people chose not to. Then perhaps we can alter things next year to get more people involved? So far, relatively few people have responded (but you can see a summary of their views below) and more comments would be welcome. h t t p s : / / s p r e a d s h e e t s 0 . g o o g l e . c o m / v i e wf o r m ? formkey=dDkyTldNdWxhOG1Kc091R3ZQVHF4NEE6 MA

Most who responded had stayed all weekend, although one hadn’t attended at all, one had been a day visitor and one had spent the nights elsewhere. Overall impression: was very positive, a good weekend, although it was pointed out that it would have been better if the loos had been closer, and with a Marquee if we’d not had such good weather. What was found to be helpful? Everyone was said to be very friendly and it was good to put faces to names, and chat about our own groups and the bring and share meal helped to break the ice. Unlike other visitors, we were allowed to light bonfires and do ’unconventional’ things. Seb’s organisational skills especially with the children, (and the excellent water slide!) were praised. Of less value: loos so far away (“but that’s the price you pay,”) and one respondent thought it was a poor location, expensive for its limited facilities. What discourages people from participating and what else could have been provided were questions which weren’t answered, presumably because everyone had or would have liked to have participated, although elsewhere one person had written that camping is over-rated.

July 2010

Seb has posed a number of questions to help us consider next year’s event, if we wish to hold it elsewhere. 1 : Can we have Caravans, Campervans and Tents, all mixed together? 2 : Are we in our own field or mixed in with other campers? 3 : Do we need PLI cover? 4 : What limit (if any) is there on attendee numbers? 5 : Are pets allowed? 6 : Is there a toilet block & how far is it? 7 : Where is the nearest water supply? 8 : Is there an Elsan disposal point? 9 : Are there showers & how far are they? 10 : Are there washing up facilities? 11 : Are open fires & BBQs allowed? 12 : What time can we arrive on site & when must we be cleared site by? 13 : Are there any limitations on overnight entry/exit ? 14 : What are the costs per pitch or per person, per night? 15 : Are there electric hook-ups available? 16 : What facilities ( shop / cafe / playground ) are on site? 17 : Where is the nearest train station? 18 : Does the site charge for unoccupied tents /marquees ? 19 : How far from nearest motorway junction? 20: Would day visitors be free to come and go? So far, there have been some suggestions of possible venues, but it has been pointed out that the organiser needs to live nearby. That leaves (so far) John (Hertford) Lorna (Bagshot) and Seb (Wolves etc) Other suggestions include various campsites in the Midlands, Scotland and somewhere “by the seaside.” If you have anything to add, please go to the Freestock-Café group on Yahoo - or the Rock Café if you wish.

Suggestions to encourage participation next year: having a camper van, a hotel in walking distance, being in a “proper” campsite. Others hoped for more people, music (as last year) extra loos or a portaloo, a proper rally field with electricity, special rates at a local hotel, a chip run (done this year, thanks Sheffield) name badges / signs on tent or van, more mixing earlier in the weekend, perhaps board games or a guided tour or a skittles / boules tournament, group outing to a local place of interest

See Jean’s photos at:

Thanks to Jacky for © FreeSpOut July 2010 sending badges, even though you couldn’t come.

Freespout Freestock 2010  
Freespout Freestock 2010  

Freestock Special Issue 2010